Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 5:34 am | Fair 48º


Local News

Two Bald Eagle Chicks Die on Santa Cruz Island

The cause is unknown, but experts will examine the carcasses of the newly hatched birds

After several years of successful hatching of young eagles, researchers last month discovered that two bald eagle chicks have died inexplicably on Santa Cruz Island.

“This year, the eagles had two eggs that hatched, and shortly after, the chicks died,” said Frank Foster, a volunteer at the Channel Islands Visitors Center. The cause of their deaths is still unknown, he said, but noted that a group of technical experts would be working to examine the carcasses.

Foster said the parent eagles have successfully produced three eggs, and that those chicks have survived and appear to be healthy.

Bald eagles were found on all of the Channel Islands until the mid-1950s, when human encroachment and pollution kept them from nesting. The last known nest had been seen in 1949, according to the Channel Islands Web site.

All of that changed in 2002, however, when the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program began a five-year feasibility study to determine if the eagles could thrive in the Northern Channel Islands, after they experienced difficulty on Santa Catalina Island

Since then, 61 bald eagles have been raised by humans in the absence of their parents, and about 25 birds still live on Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands.

Foster said that when the researchers learn a cause of death, that information will be posted on the Channel Islands Web site.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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